Sources: Colorado board discussing Big 12 move

INDIANAPOLIS — The future of Colorado in the Pac-12 is in flux, as the school is discussing the future of athletics in a university board of trustees meeting Wednesday regarding “athletics operations.”

The school is mulling a potential move to the Big 12, according to sources, and Wednesday’s meeting represents a potential step in the process for university officials to approve a move there, according to sources. Colorado has discussed athletics in a private session multiple times in recent months, but sources indicate the tenor of this meeting is different.

When ESPN asked Colorado athletic director Rick George this week about a potential conference decision for the school, he declined comment, although he did express frustration at the Pac-12’s inability to put together a television deal, saying he had no meeting scheduled with the league this week.

“We are where we are,” George told ESPN. “We’ve just got to figure it out.”

The Big 12 is also holding a presidents and chancellors meeting tonight, which sources said is expected to include an update on potential expansion. The coinciding meetings project that some clarity on Colorado’s future in the league will appear in the coming days.

There would still need to be more steps for Colorado to finalize the move, as sources told ESPN that Colorado has not formally applied to join the league. Public applications to a league are often considered formalities, and on Wednesday afternoon, Colorado scheduled a follow-up “special board meeting” that was expected to be required to formalize any conference move.

Colorado officials met in person at a neutral site with Big 12 officials back in May, according to sources. That’s been the most extensive contact any Pac-12 school has had with the Big 12.

The Pac-12 as a group has collectively been waiting for a television number from commissioner George Kliavkoff. A source told ESPN’s Heather Dinich that the Pac-12 presidents have still not been presented a media deal, a recurring theme the past few months. Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano told The Denver Post last week that he was expecting numbers in a meeting before the Pac-12’s media day last week. Those never materialized.

The potential move marks a return for Colorado to the Big 12, which it was a member of from 1996 to 2010. Colorado left for the Pac-12 in 2011 and has had no bowl wins and just two winning football seasons since the move. George hustled out of Pac-12 media day without commenting last week, fueling suspicions of Colorado’s wandering eye. When asked by ESPN on Tuesday why he wouldn’t express fidelity to the Pac-12 at a time when many of his peers spoke of solidarity, George said: “It’s just who I am. When I have something to say, I’ll say it.”

A Colorado departure from the Pac-12 would come after the 2023-24 season and coincide with the end of the Pac-12 television deal. That would mean that Colorado would not have to pay any exit fee to the league.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich contributed to this report.

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